Disney and Tesla, a second encounter

Tesla Model S Disney CartoonLooks like Disney’s next Cars flick will have some EV/hybrid characters, including a Model S-alike. Here’s some fun speculation about how Disney will treat “green” cars. Is Disney down with Tesla or not? We’ll see.

Meanwhile, this is a perfect time to revisit this post from a couple of years ago (reprinted below). TeslaMondo reported from Disney’s Epcot Center and found a blatant General Motors influence throughout. Has anyone been to the Epcot Center this year? Is the EV display still the same? Still showing a moldy ol’ Chevy Volt? Is the park still running the General Motors “test track” ride? Does Tesla still have a Model S stationed near the pedestrian entrance — way out in the parking lot instead of inside the park with the other scientific marvels, like Chevies?


Volt at Epcot Center TeslaMondo

Epcot Center exhibit

Tesla at Epcot Center, TeslaMondo

Epcot Center parking lot

Today TeslaMondo is reporting from the Epcot Center. Turns out there’s a renewable energy mini-exhibit, with a wall full of facts/figures about solar energy n’ stuff, and with a Chevy Volt serving as the token EV.


A few steps away sits a big amusement park ride called the Test Track. There’s a big bowtie symbol in front of it. It’s a combination roller coaster and “educational” look at the rigors of General Motors product testing.


A few minutes of Googling reveals GM sponsored a Disney flick called Tomorrowland and product-placed the Volt throughout the movie.


In fact, the two companies go all the way back to the 1964 World’s Fair.


Meanwhile, near the Epcot pedestrian entrance, Tesla has strategically planted a P85D below the monorail. It’s just kinda sitting there, plugged into a generic charger, attracting an occasional gawker.


This little scene — a Volt onstage and a Tesla kicked to the curb — begs an important question about not only the Epcot Center, but any large-scale exhibition that purports to expand our appreciation of the world around us: When do exhibitions cross the line and become “sponsored content”? How much longer can Disney pretend Tesla doesn’t exist? Eventually it will have to cave in and replace the Volt — or perhaps the Bolt — with a Tesla as a valid representation of humanity’s EV frontier.

But this begs another question. Let’s say Disney decides to bite the bullet and make a serious attempt at an EV exhibit. How could it possibly keep the information fresh? No sooner would the paint dry on the exhibit than it would need updating, what with Silicon Valley’s innovative pace. So here’s the ONLY WAY to do it:

Step 1. Replace Chevy product with Tesla product.
Step 2. Install dry-erase whiteboard on the wall.
Step 3. Monitor Tesla’s website daily, and update whiteboard as necessary.

This will ensure accurate information about cost, performance, range, volume, solar integration and so on. But a whiteboard display would look pretty silly, wouldn’t it? No sillier than an adult wearing mouse ears, and Epcot has plenty of those walking around.

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4 thoughts on “Disney and Tesla, a second encounter

  1. Brian says:

    I couldn’t even get through this whole post without having to stop and write this….

    GM COMPLETELY RUINED the Test Track Ride which used to have a very interesting, educational and fun “durability testing” theme. It was “upgraded” to some pseudo-Tron-like neon and computer nonsense.

    Thumbs down to GM for not only killing the EV1, but the potential future of electric vehicles in the late 90’s..yes, including selling the battery patent to Texaco which a week later was purchased by Chevron….but a big thumbs down for killing a previously AWESOME ride at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center.

    What a disappointment!



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